Joined-up farming plea is launched

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A CAMPAIGN has been started to raise awareness of farm co-operatives in the Borders.

The Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), an umbrella group for farm co-ops, launched the effort at Carfraemill.

SAOS chairman David Mitchell said: “The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of two things: firstly, the huge contribution that agricultural co-operatives have made to the Borders over the past few years and, secondly, the enormous benefits farmers and their families gain from being part of a co-operative.

“Many family farmers have been able to improve their business and make it more resilient by working together. The Scottish Borders has some of the most dynamic co-operatives in Scotland.”

Nine local co-ops with a combined membership of 3,300 people were represented at the launch including Scotlean Pigs, Borders Machinery Ring, Scottish Borders Food Network, Grainco and Scott Country Potatoes.

As part of the initiative, the area’s primary school children are being asked to work together on a written presentation saying why it makes sense for family farmers to work together, with prizes to be announced early next year.

The Secretary of State for Scotland and Borders MP Michael Moore, said co-ops helped farmers stand up to the challenges of a competitive globalised market.

“Many farmers are stronger and better off when they work together, sharing skills, innovation, machinery and setting up local markets and new supply chains,” he said.